How to Switch from Windows 7 to Chrome OS CloudReady

NOTE: The following article is off-topic. That is, it has nothing to do with family history, DNA, or any other genealogy-related topic. If you are looking for genealogy articles, you might want to skip this one.

Instead, this article is about some of my favorite topics: the latest software and hardware along with saving money and the use of computer hardware and software. If you are interested in these topics, you may find this article to be of some interest.

However, if you are already using Windows 10 or a Macintosh or a Chromebook or Linux, you probably will not  find anything of interest in the following article.

According to many articles on the Web, including one written by Danny Palmer and published in the ZDNet web site:

Windows 7 has reached end of life and now isn’t supported by Microsoft. It means businesses and consumers with PCs running on Windows 7 – which was introduced in 2009 – will no longer receive technical assistance, software patches and security updates from Microsoft, unless they want to pay extra.”

Later in the same article, Palmer writes:

“Such is the potential risk posed by this that the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre – the cyber arm of the GCHQ intelligence service – has issued a warning over the continued use of Windows 7 PCs and laptops, telling users they shouldn’t use Windows 7 devices when accessing personal data.”

You can find dozens of other articles about the Windows 7 end-of-life problem by starting at: https://duckduckgo.com/?q=%22windows+7%22+%22end+of+life.

What should the Windows 7 users do to protect themselves from viruses, identity theft, credit card theft, and similar problems? Actually, there are several very good answers.

Solution #1:

Microsoft’s preferred solution is to encourage all Windows 7 users to upgrade to Windows 10. That isn’t a perfect solution, as Windows 10 also has had a few security problems but not nearly as many as Windows 7 has encountered. Unfortunately, upgrading to Windows 10 can be an expensive solution. First is the expense of obtaining the Windows 10 software, although SOME Windows 7 users can obtain a free upgrade. (See https://zd.net/35VpAfs for the details.) Next, Windows 10 is more demanding of the hardware than are the earlier versions of Windows. If your PC is a bit underpowered, you may need to also upgrade the hardware. That might mean adding more memory or other hardware to your computer. In many cases, the most cost-effective option is to purchase a brand-new state-of-the -art PC with Windows 10 pre-installed. I’ll let you determine the cost to do that.

Solution #2:

Convert the PC to Linux. Many Linux versions (or “distributions”) are available. In most cases, Linux is available FREE of charge and is LESS demanding of the hardware than is Windows. Your present Windows 7 computer probably will work well once you install Linux, even faster than it did when running Windows 7.

Best of all, Any Windows computer can become “dual boot.” That us, both Windows 7 and Linux can be installed on the one hard drive. When first booting the computer, the user will then be promoted for an option: “Do you want to run Windows or run Linux?” This allows the user to keep the old Windows system but also to have Linux available whenever needed.

The primary downside of converting to Linux is there is a learning curve. Lots of buzzwords will change, menus will look different, and it will require some time to become familiar with the new operating system.

NOTE: If you have never seen Linux before, you might want to first read 5 of the Best Linux Distros for Windows Users at http://bit.ly/2TnYCL5 before deciding which distribution to use.

Solution #3:

(And this is my preferred solution:) You could convert your present Windows system to run the Chromium operating system. If you use your Windows 7 PC mostly to access the web or the cloud, you can move it to CloudReady, the Chromium OS-based operating system. CloudReady is almost identical to the operating system installed in Chromebooks, with the exception that CloudReady is designed to run on any PC that also can run Windows while Chromebooks have an operating system that only works on Chromebook hardware (including Chromebox and ChromeBit systems).

I have written often about the advantages of Chromebooks and similar Chrome devices. See https://duckduckgo.com/?q=site%3Aeogn.com+chromebox for my past articles.

The Chrome systems never get viruses, are very easy to use (almost no learning curve), have thousands of FREE “apps” available and the operating system is available free of charge.

NOTE: Paid version of CloudReady are available but are designed for organizations that want to have Customer Support from the CloudReady software developers to help with any technical issues. If you plan to install CloudReady on dozens of computers at your business, church, school, or other non-profit organization, you will need to pay for a license. See  https://www.neverware.com/pricing for pricing information. Almost all individual users will want to use the free Home Version of CloudReady.

In short, upgrading from Windows 7 to the CloudReady operating system is the simplest, cheapest, and easiest change if you mostly use your old computer to surf the web, read and write email, use Facebook and other social media sites, access news, weather, and sports and also to access the major genealogy web sites: (MyHeritage.com, FamilySearch.org, Ancestry.com, Findmypast.com, WikiTree.com, TheGenealogist.co.uk, BillionGraves.com, FindAGrave.com, and many others).

I doubt if CloudReady or Chromebooks are the perfect solution for everyone but I would suggest that anyone running Windows 7 today should investigate the idea of switching to a faster, more powerful, more secure, and easier to use FREE operating system: CloudReady.

If you are interested in the possibility of using CloudReady, read How to switch from Windows 7 to Chrome OS CloudReady by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols (one of my favorite technology authors) as published in the ZDNdet Web site at: https://zd.net/2RgvToH.

You also will want to watch the video available at the same web page: https://zd.net/2RgvToH.

10 Comments

I have upgraded two Windows 7 laptops and one Windows 7 desktop PC to Windows 10 in the last 12 months free of charge using the instructions in the ZDNdet article. Absolutely no problems.

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Margaret MacDermaid January 15, 2020 at 2:59 pm

Thank you for this article. One question – under solution #3, switching to CloudReady – is it suitable for online banking and investing?

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    —> under solution #3, switching to CloudReady – is it suitable for online banking and investing?

    Yes, but not all by itself.

    It makes no difference what operating system you use: CloudReady, Windows, Macintosh, Chromebook, Linux, Android, Apple iOS (on iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch systems) or most anything else. To provide proper online security, all of them need to be used with a good quality VPN or some equivalent method of encrypting your online communications.

    VPNs are available for all those systems but typically are not pre-installed at the factories. With any computer, the user is expected to add a VPN after unpacking the new system.

    For more information about VPNs, see my earlier article What is a VPN and Why do I Need One? at https://privacyblog.com/2019/06/04/what-is-a-vpn-and-why-do-i-need-one/ which is simply a very short article that points to a longer and more in-depth article by Carrie Marshall in the T3.COM web site at: https://www.t3.com/features/what-is-a-vpn-and-why-do-i-need-one

    Additional comment: I am using the Private Internet Access VPN (often called “PIA”) at this moment to encrypt this comment and other data that I am sending and receiving. I have similar VPNs installed in my smartphone, iPad, Chromebook, and Macintosh laptop computers.

    Liked by 1 person

I have one question relating to Chromebooks, which I will preface with an example:
+++++++++
I bought a Lenovo N21 a few years ago at an extremely low price (at least for the time): about $60.
My first attempt to use it with a printer came this past summer and was very disappointing. I had completed an application on-line for vehicle registration in Minnesota. When I tried to print it out, I didn’t get the complete image on the page – it was “trimmed” around the edges, as if the printer (or the Chromebook) had enlarged the image, pushing parts of it beyond the margins. I don’t recall what I tried, probably things like Fit to Page, or changing the margin settings, but I could not remedy this. This also happened with documents I created using the word processing app native to Chromium.
I tried to get help from Canon, but as near as I could understand the person I reached, there was nothing to be done about this.
So for those who decide that a Chromebook is the way to go, and don’t want to convert* (or don’t have) an old Windows7 laptop, try to get an iron-clad guarantee from the seller of any Chromebook you buy that it will work flawlessly with any printer. Failing that, buy a printer at the same store and extract a guarantee that you can return both if they don’t play nice with each other.
++++++++++++ (end of example)

The question: will a laptop converted to run Chromium always work well with any modern printer? More germane to this context: will a Cloudready machine work well with any modern printer?

*My apologies to Mr. Eastman if this appears to intentionally throw cold water on the idea of “going Chromebook”. I’m just concerned for those who might follow my path into the Chrome domain and have the same problem. Another reason the Cloudready solution is not a slam-dunk decision is that your Windows 7-era laptop is going to be twice as heavy and the battery-life will be a small fraction of a new Chromebook.

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    —> I tried to get help from Canon, but as near as I could understand the person I reached, there was nothing to be done about this.

    Absolutely not true.

    I am now on my third Chromebook and I print from it often without difficulty. That’s nothing new. I had problems with my first Chromebook as it was one of the first ones ever shipped and was a bit buggy. However, the automatic “software updates” fixed most of the problems over the next few months. The second and now my latest Chromebook have always printed properly.

    A few months ago, I took my current Google Pixelbook Chromebook on a business trip to Amsterdam, the Netherlands. While in my hotel room, I printed a couple of pages on the printer downstairs in the hotel’s business center and also a few pages on my laser printer in my home in Orlando, Florida so that I could have them once I returned home.

    While on this trip, I never had a need to print elsewhere but, if necessary, I could have printed on a printer in anyone’s home or office that was connected to a computer with cloud printing softare installed as well as to any FedEx Office (Kinko’s) store in the world and probably to other places as well. (I don’t have a complete list at my fingertips but I am sure there must be thousands of printers in thousands of locations are accessible to Chromebooks if the owners have permission to print).

    I find printing from a Chromebook is no more difficult and no easier than printing from Windows. It is slightly different but just as easy.

    See my earlier article from 2016 at https://blog.eogn.com/2016/11/29/the-myths-about-chromebooks/ for further information about the capabilities of Chromebooks.

    —> try to get an iron-clad guarantee from the seller of any Chromebook you buy that it will work flawlessly with any printer

    Any Chromebook will print to any local or remote printer if, and only if, that printer is connected through the network to a server or desktop of laptop Windows or Macintosh computer that has appropriate cloud printing software installed that allows for allows remote printers (and if the owner has given permission for that remote user to print on that local printer).

    Chromebooks do most everything through a network, including printing. With a Chromebook, you don’t plug the printer into the computer. Instead, you connect the Chromebook to a network and then can print to any printer on that network if the appropriate software has been installed in the network and if the owner of that printer has given you permission. Most newer printers already have that software installed but older printers usually will not. However, the software is free and can be downloaded online.

    —> More germane to this context: will a Cloudready machine work well with any modern printer?

    Yes.

    You can find a dozen or more online articles that explain all this by starting at https://duckduckgo.com/?q=chromebook+cloud+printing

    Liked by 1 person

Windows 10 is horrible. Too many issues to go into here and now.
Solution 3.5: Keep your Windows 7 (or XP or 98 or 95 or 3.1) as-is, unplug it from the internet and get a Chromebook for web and email.

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Dick, If I switch to Linux how will that affect my access to my FamilyTreeMaker program? Thanks! Lois L

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    Family Tree Maker is available for Windows and Macintosh, but not for Linux.

    There is an excellent Linux genealogy program called GRAMPS that is also available free of charge. However, you won’t be able to run Family Tree Maker.

    Like

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